Wednesday, 20th August, 2014

Doing Business Internationallly? Protect your Intellectual Property

Auckland Chamber of Commerce International Manager Nathalie Malfeyt recently attended a conference about changes in the Chinese Intellectual Property (IP) legislation, hosted by ANZ in cooperation with James & Wells, IP Law specialists.

Many New Zealand business owners are still not fully aware of the importance of registering their Intellectual Property (IP) rights when expanding business activities overseas.

Failure to do so may result in difficult and costly consequences. Some common misconceptions still exist around protecting IP:

that when you register your rights in New Zealand, you are covered worldwide (IP rights are legislated by jurisdiction), and
that you only need to register your rights when you intend to start exporting your goods or services to a different country . In fact, the IP legislation affects importers as well, or manufacturers of products in another country exporting elsewhere.

Last May some important changes were made to the IP legislation in China with China setting up IP enforcement agencies to monitor compliance.

Having the correct IP registration is a complicated but important aspect of being prepared when doing business internationally.

File early: The need to file your IP as early in the process as possible is especially important in China (and a lot of Asian countries), as the ‘first to register not first to use’ rule applies in many Asian countries. And be aware that the filing process for official registration of IP rights can take a long time (up to a year).

File dual language applications: Another point to note when registering a trademark in another country is that you should consider whether to register in both English and the native language of that country – even if you intend to market your product or service using the English version of your trade mark.

Know your markets: It is important that you discuss with your IP attorney all countries that you are interested in trading with, so they can advise how best to proceed.


Should you need any more information around the changes in IP legislation in China or any other IP registration issues, please contact Nathalie Malfeyt, International Manager, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.